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HOMILY OF SAINT 

GREGORY the GREAT on 

PASTORAL OFFICE 



TRANSLATED BY 
REV. PATRICK BOYLE, CM. 



General Editor and Study Guide developed by 
Rev. Don Allen, Jr. MA, PhD (cand) 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 1 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



"Read, venerable Brethren, that admirable homily of the holy Pontiff, and 
make your clergy read and ponder it, especially at the time of their annual 
retreat" (Pius X. Ency. Jucunda sane 12 March, 1904), 



No Current Copyright found: 

DUBLIN: M, H. GILL & SON, LTD. AND WATERFORD, NEW YORK: 
BENZIGER BROTHERS 1908 

Imprimatur: A. FIAT, Sup. Gen. Cong. Miss. Parisiis, die z Febii, 1907. 
Nihil obstat: THOMAS MAGRATH, S.T.D., Censor Theol. Deputatus. 
Imprimatur: GULIELMUS, Archiepiscopus Dublin ensts, Hib. Primas. 
Dublinii, die i Maii, 1907. 



Study /Discussion Guide Questions and Material ... 

Copyright © 2008 by Rev. Don Allen, Jr., PhD.(cand) All rights reserved. 
Except as permitted under trie United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication 
may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or 
retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author. 

For information or inquiries, contact the author: 

Rev. Don Allen, Jr. PhD (cand) 

Through HIM Ministries 

c/o Milford Assembly of God 

1301 State Route 131 

Milford, Ohio 45150 

throughhim(£)y mail. com 

ww w. throughhim.faithweb.com 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 2 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



Introduction: 



It is hard to believe that I entered the ministry over 30 years ago, and have 
preached hundreds of sermons, and taught a dozen college courses, and too 
many Sunday School classes to even guest about the number I have taught. 
However, with all that I still love to read and learn, recently I came across 
HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 
and was so blessed by the wisdom and teaching of this great Christian leader. 
Please understand there are many things that I will never agree with Pope 
Gregory doctrine, and teaching but clearly this great sermon/teaching is worth 
studying. 

REV. DON ALLEN, JR. PhD (CAND) 



Editor Note: 



The booklet has remained unchanged, from the words that Pope Gregory 

wrote nearly 1400 years ago. 

Though out the study guide/workbook you will find questions to ponder, 
please take time to prayerful reflect on your role as pastor, minister, and friend 

to your local community. 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 3 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



Preface 

On the occasion of the thirteenth centenary of St. Gregory the Great, our 
Holy Father, Pius X. published an Encyclical letter,* in which he dwelt on the 
lessons to be learned from the life and writings of that great Pope. He 
directed, in a special manner, the attention of the clergy to the Regula 
Pastoralis of St. Gregory and to his Seventeenth Homily on the Gospels. Of 
the latter Pius X. speaks in the following terms: 

"We still seem to have before our eyes the image of Gregory, in the 
Pontifical Council of Lateran, surrounded by bishops from all quarters and by 
the entire clergy of Rome. How fruitful is the exhortation which falls from 
his lips on the subject of the duties of the clergy! V/hat burning zeal! Like a 
thunderbolt his sermon smites the guilty. His words are so many scourges to 
rouse the slothful. They are, so to say, flames of divine love, which sweetly 
influence even the most fervent. 

"Read, venerable brethren, that admirable homily of the holy Pontiff, and 
make your clergy read and ponder it, especially at the time of their annual 
retreat." 

These words of Pius X. will be a sufficient apology for the attempt made 
here to render this admirable homily of St. Gregory more accessible to 
English-speaking ecclesiastics. The translator has followed the Latin text as 
given in Migne s edition.* 

PATRICK BOYLE, CM. Irish College, Paris, ^ Feb., 1907. 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 4 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 




St. Gregory 
the Great 



ST. GREGORY, surnamed the Great, was born in Rome of a wealthy 
patrician family about AD 540. In his youth he embraced a political career, 
and was appointed by the Emperor Justin II., in 571, to the influential office of 
Praetor of Rome. But disenchanted with the attractions of worldly honours, 
Gregory resigned his functions, and sold his paternal estates. With the 
proceeds he founded six monasteries in Sicily. His own house on Mount 
Scaurus, now the Coelian Hill, he converted into a monastery, where he took 
the religious habit, and observed the Benedictine rule in all its austerity. 
Knowing the virtues and capacity of Gregory, Pope Benedict I. withdrew him 
from his monastery, and made him one of the Regionaries or Cardinal 
Deacons of the city. In 578 Pelagius II. conferred on him a further mark of 
confidence by sending him as apocrisiarius, or nuncio, to the Court of the 
Emperor Tiberius at Constantinople. Here Gregory spent six years. 

About 585 he returned to Rome, and was elected Abbot of his monastery. 
Not long after, as he passed through the forum, some Anglo-Saxon boys 
exposed for sale in the slave-market attracted his attention, and a conversation 
with them awakened in his heart a desire to go to evangelize the country from 
which they came. V/ith the permission of the Pope he set out for England. 
But the news of his departure excited a tumult amongst the people by whom 
he was beloved, and the Pope was obliged to dispatch a messenger with an 
order commanding Gregory to return to Rome. In February, 590, Pelagius II 
died, and Gregory was chosen by the unanimous vote of the clergy, the Senate 
and people to succeed him on the pontifical throne. According to the usage of 
the period the Emperor confirmed the election, and on 3 September, 590, 
Gregory received episcopal consecration in St. Peter s. 

From that date until his death, in March, 604, in spite of continual 
infirmity, Gregory laboured with indefatigable energy for the welfare of the 
Church. In Italy he was a father to the people, then suffering from famine and 
pestilence and from the invasion of the Lombard's. V/hile subscribing himself 
Servus Servorum Dei, he steadfastly maintained the dignity of the Holy See, 

HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 5 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



and resisted the ambitious pretensions of the patriarch of Constantinople, John 
the Faster, styled by his flatterers the (Ecumenical Patriarch. Nor did he 
forget his former project of labouring for the conversion of England. By his 
orders Augustine and forty monks proceeded to that country, founded the See 
of Canterbury, and organized the Church throughout the island. 

Gregory watched with zealous care over the decorum of public worship and 
the administration of the Sacraments; and a tradition, which modern criticism 
has not succeeded in demolishing, ascribes to him the regulation of 
ecclesiastical chant, and the correction of the ancient Sacramentary of the 
Roman Church. 

But the labours and cares of administration did not hinder Gregory from 
devoting much attention to literary work. From the first years of his 
pontificate dates a work which ranks as a classic on the duties of the pastoral 
office viz., the Regula Pastoralis. In the preface to that work, addressed to 
John, Archbishop of Ravenna, Gregory defends his conduct in seeking to 
escape the supreme dignity of the pontificate. The work itself is divided into 
four books. The first treats of the qualities necessary for the pastoral office; 
the second deals with the life a pastor ought to lead; the third lays down the 
rules to be observed in the instruction and spiritual direction of various classes 
of men; the fourth book, consisting of a single chapter, admonishes the pastor 
to reflect, and examine whether he has been faithful to the obligations of his 
state and office. The Regula Pastoralis was published in 591. It was followed 
in 593 by a second work, entitled Dialogues? in four books. The work takes 
the form of a dialogue between the saint and his in timate friend, the deacon 
Peter. The three first books treat of the holy men who flourished in Italy, the 
whole of the second book being devoted to the life and miracles of St. 
Benedict. The fourth book narrates visions of holy persons, and has for object 
to show the continuance of life after death. 

The next great work of St. Gregory was his Morals on the Book of Job 
(Expositio in librum Job, seu Moralium libri XXXV.). In that work, the 
composition of which was commenced at Constantinople but completed after 
his elevation to the Papacy, the author proposes to himself to give a threefold 
interpretation of the text viz., literal, mystical and moral. He is meagre, how 
ever, in the literal interpretation, and dwells by preference on the allegorical 
meaning, and the moral lessons which that meaning suggests. The moral 
lessons contained in St. Gregory s great work on the book of Job are so full and 
practical that it has served as a source from which theologians and spiritual 
writers since his time have largely drawn. 

Though physical infirmity rendered preaching difficult to Gregory, he was 
not unmindful of that great duty of the pastoral office. Amongst his works are 
two valuable collections of homilies viz., his homilies on Ezekiel, and forty 
homilies on the Gospels. The homilies on the Gospels were delivered 
probably in the years 590, 591. The first twenty were dictated by the saint, and 

HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 6 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



read in his presence in the church by his secretary. The remaining twenty were 
delivered by himself, and taken down by stenographers as he spoke. 

The style of St. Gregory s homilies is simple, paternal and earnest. Though 
he loves to dwell on the allegorical sense of the Gospel text, the lessons he 
inculcates are practical for all time. 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 7 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



A Homily of St. Gregory the Great 

Addressed to the Bishops and Clergy, assembled in Council at 
the Lateran Basilica, about A.D. 591. 

"And after these things the Lord appointed also other seventy-two; and He 
sent them two and two before His face into every city, whither He Himself 
was to come. And He said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the 
labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send 
labourers into His harvest. Go: behold, I send you as lambs among- wolves. 
Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes, and salute no man by the way. Into 
whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of 
peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. 
And in the same house remain, eating- and drinking- such things as they have. 
For the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. And 
into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set 
before you, and heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The Kingdom 
of God is come nigh unto you " (St. Luke x. 1-9). 



© 



As a pastor or lay-person within the ministry do you feel that this 
verse that Pope Gregory refers to applies to you today? 



DEARLY beloved Brethren, our Lord and Saviour instructs us at one time 
by His words, and at another by His works. For His works are lessons, 
because from His acts, though performed in silence, our duty becomes 
manifest. For instance, He sends His disciples two and two to preach, because 
there are two precepts of charity the love, that is, of God and of our neighbour, 
and between less than two there cannot be charity. For no one is said to have 
charity for himself; but love, to deserve the name of charity, must have for 
object another. Our Lord sent His disciples two and two to preach, to give us 
to understand that the man who has not charity for his neighbour ought on no 
account to undertake the office of preaching. 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 8 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



2. And with good reason it is said that He sent them two and two before 
His face into every city whither He Himself was to come. The Lord follows 
His preachers; for preaching comes first, and when the words of exhortation 
have preceded, and the intellect has been enlightened by truth, our Lord comes 
to take up His abode in our minds. 

For this reason Isaiah says to preachers: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make straight His paths "(Isa. xl. 3). Hence the Psalmist also says, "Make a 
way for Him who ascendeth upon the west "(Ps. Ixvii. 5). For our Lord 
ascends upon the west, inasmuch as from the place where He set in His 
Passion He displayed in His resurrection His greater glory. He ascends in 
sooth upon the west, because by His resurrection He triumphed over death, to 
which He had submitted. For Him, therefore, who ascends upon the west we 
make a way, when we preach His glory to your minds, that He Himself, 
coming after, may enlighten them by the presence of His love. 

^^ As a preacher/minister what is the most important thing for you to 
preach/teach? 



3. Let us give ear, then, to what He says when sending His preachers: "The 
harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord 
of the harvest, that He send labourers into His harvest." 

It is with profound sorrow we have to admit that though the harvest is 
great, the labourers are few, because, though the people are ready to hear the 
Word of God, there are few to preach it. Lo, the world is full of priests, yet in 
the harvest of the Lord a labourer is very rare, for we undertake, it is true, the 
office of the priest hood, but its duties we do not fulfil. Yet weigh well, dearly 
beloved, weigh well the words of the text: "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest 
that He send labourers into His harvest". Pray then for us that we may have 
strength to labour for you as we ought, that our tongue may not be slack to 
exhort, and that, having undertaken the office of preaching, our silence may 
not prove our condemnation at the tribunal of the just Judge. 

For oftentimes by reason of their own sins the tongue of preachers is tied, 
oftentimes on the other hand it is because of the sins of their people that the 
gift of eloquence is withheld from pastors. By reason of their own sins the 
tongue of preachers is tied, according to the words of the Psalmist, "But to the 
sinner God hath said, Why dost thou declare My justices? "(Ps. xlix. 16.) And 

HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 9 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



again, the voice of preachers is hindered because of the sins of the people, 
according to the words of the Lord to Ezekiel: "I will make thy tongue stick 
fast to the roof of thy mouth, and thou shalt be dumb, and not as a man that 
reproveth, because they are a provoking house "(Ezek. iii. 26). 

As though He said expressly: The gift of eloquence is withdrawn from thee, 
because while the people offend Me by their sins they are not worthy to have 
the truth preached to them. Through whose fault it is that speech is with 
drawn from the preacher is no easy matter to decide. But that the silence of 
the pastor is hurtful to himself sometimes, and to his flock at all times, is 
beyond all doubt. 

^^ V/hat will it take to stop you from preaching the word of God? 



© 



Do you feel that there is anything that people can do to make them 
unworthy of hearing God's word (preaching)? 



e 



V/hat is the sin in your personal life that interferes with you 
preaching the gospel? 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 1 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



4- But if we cannot preach as efficiently as we ought, to, to, to, to, to, to, to, 
to, to, to, would that by innocence of life we held the rank that befits our 
office. For the Gospel adds, "Behold I send you as lambs among wolves". 
Now there are many who, when placed in authority, show themselves eager to 
rend their subjects; they use their power to terrify, and they injure those to 
whom it was their duty to do good. And not possessing the bowels of charity 
they seek to appear as masters, and forget that they are fathers ; and, instead of 
governing in the spirit of humility, they domineer in the spirit of pride ; and if 
at times their outward acts are gentle, their hearts within are full of passion. 
Of them Truth says in another place, "They come to you in the clothing of 
sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves "(Matt. vii. 15). We, on the 
contrary, should bear in mind that we are sent as lambs among wolves, and 
should therefore observe innocence of conduct, and abstain from 
manifestations of malice. For one who undertakes the office of preaching 
ought not to do but rather to suffer wrong, and so by his meekness calm the 
anger of his persecutors, and heal the wounds of sinners, though weighed 
down himself by affliction. And if zeal for virtue sometimes requires him to 
treat his subjects with rigour, his severity itself should spring from love, and 
not from passion, so as to maintain outwardly the rights of discipline, and 
inwardly cherish with a father s love those whom he publicly corrects with 
severity. And the pastor succeeds in acting thus who is free from self love, 
who covets not the things of the world, who in no wise submits his neck to the 
burden of earthly desires. 

^^ How do you approach your church/sheep when you preach; is it as 
one that has compassion and understanding or as a task master? 



Is your preaching about you or is it about them finding the truth in 
Christ love? 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 1 1 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



5. For this reason the text also adds, "Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor 
shoes, and salute no man by the way". For a preacher should be so filled with 
confidence in God as to be firmly convinced that temporal sustenance will 
never be wanting to him, though he takes no thought of it, lest concern for 
temporal things should divert his mind from attending to the eternal interests 
of others. And the Gospel also permits him to salute no man by the way, to 
give him to under stand with what speed he should proceed to preach. 

And if we take the words of the text in an allegorical sense, as money is put 
in a purse, so money in a purse is a figure of wisdom which is hidden. He then 
who possesses the word of wisdom, but neglects to distribute it to his 
neighbour, so to speak, keeps his money in a purse. "For wisdom that is hid, 
and a treasure that is not seen, what profit is there in them both? " (Ecclus xli. 

17). 

V/hat is meant by scrip but the cares of the world, and what by shoes but 
the example of the works of the dead. He, therefore, who under takes the 
office of preaching ought not to carry the burden of secular business, lest, by 
submitting his neck to its yoke, he be unable to raise himself up to preach 
heavenly things. Nor ought he to take for his guidance the example of the 
conduct of the unwise, lest he be led to suppose that his own conduct is 
defended, so to say, by dead skins. For there are many who defend their own 
misdeeds by instancing the misdeeds of others. From the fact that others have 
so acted, they imagine that they may lawfully do likewise. Now, what is this 
but an effort to cover their feet with the skins of dead animals? 

Again, every man who salutes by the way salutes as an incident in his 
journey and not from concern for the health of the person saluted. In like 
manner the man who preaches the Gospel not for love of heaven, but for sake 
of a recompense, salutes so to speak by the way, because he desires the 
salvation of his hearers incidentally, and not of set purpose. 



Are you preaching for the money you get or because you are 
passionate about the getting the gospel out? 



© 



Would you preach a different message or gospel if you were 
offered more money? 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 1 2 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



6. The Gospel goes on to say: "Into whatsoever house you enter first say, 
Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest 
upon him, but if not it shall return to you." Now the peace offered by the 
preacher either rests upon the house, if a son of peace reside therein, or it 
returns to the preacher. For if there be there anyone predestined unto life, he 
will hearken to the heavenly doctrine; or if no one gives ear to it, the preacher 
himself shall not go unrewarded, because his peace returns to him inasmuch as 
the Lord will recompense him in proportion to his labour. 

^^ As you read this statement, do you agree with Pope Gregory about 
the concept of a pastor attempting to bring peace to a home? 



7. But observe that he who forbids preachers to carry scrip, or purse, permits 
them to accept their support in return for their labour. For the text adds: "In 
the same house remain eating and drinking such things as they have. For the 
labourer is worthy of his hire." If our peace is received, it is but just that we 
remain in the same house eating and drinking such things as they have, and so 
obtain a stipend on earth from those to whom we offer the rewards of heaven. 
Hence St. Paul, esteeming those earthly rewards of little account, says, "If we 
have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we reap your carnal 
things? " (I Cor. ix. II). And the words which follow deserve attention: " The 
labourer is worthy of his hire." For sustenance is already a portion of the hire, 
inasmuch as the hire of the preacher s labour commences in this life, and is 
completed in the next, in the vision of truth. And here observe that to our 
labour there is due a double reward, one in this life and the other in the next; 
the former to be our sustenance in our toil, and the latter to be our recompense 
in the resurrection. The hire, therefore, which we receive in this life, should 
serve to make us more earnest in labouring for the recompense to come. 

The true preacher, therefore, ought not to preach in order to receive his hire 
in this life, but he should accept the hire that he may be able to continue to 
preach. For the man who preaches to receive, as recompense, either praise or 
gifts in this life, beyond doubt deprives himself of the recompense which is 
eternal. But if he desires that his discourses please men, that by means of 
them God, and not the preacher, may be loved; or, if he accepts an earthly 
stipend for his labour that he may not be compelled by indigence to desist 
from preaching, the fact that he has accepted his sustenance in this life is no 
obstacle to his receiving his recompense in the next. 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 1 3 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



In my opinion, Pastors today have three different views of pastoral 
pay: (i) Pastor deserves a full time salary, (2) Pastor willing to work 
part-time or take what the church can afford. (3) Or there are those 
pastors that do it for the love of it and without reward. The question 
is what are you looking for as your reward? Why do you pastor or do 
ministry? 



8. But, O pastors, what, I ask with sorrow, what are we doing? For we 
receive the hire, and we are far from being labourers. In our daily stipend we 
accept the fruits of holy Church, yet we do not labour in preaching for the 
everlasting Church. Let us weigh well what a subject of condemnation it is to 
receive without labour the hire of labour. 

Behold, we live by the offerings of the faithful, but what labour do we 
perform for the souls of the faithful? We receive as our stipend the offerings 
which the people make for their sins; yet, by diligence in prayer and in 
preaching, we do not labour as we ought for their correction. We hardly 
venture to reprove anyone publicly as his sins deserve. And what is worse 
still, if the sinner is powerful in this world, perhaps we praise him for his 
faults, lest he should be provoked by correction, and in his indignation 
withhold the offerings he was wont to make. 

Now we should ever keep in mind that it is written of priests, "They shall 
eat the sins of My people "(Osee iv. 8). W^hy is it said that they eat the sins of 
the people, but because they foster the sins of the people in order not to lose 
their contributions? And if we ourselves, who live by the offerings of the 
people for their sins, eat and are silent, without doubt we eat the sins of the 
people. Let us therefore lay to heart what a crime it is in the eyes of God to eat 
the price of sins, and yet to do nothing by preaching to oppose sin. Let us 
hearken to the words of holy Job: "If my land cry against me, and with it the 
furrows thereof mourn. If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money" (J°b 
xxxi. 38-39). 

For the land cries against its owner, when the Church has reason to 
murmur against its pastor. And the furrows thereof mourn, if the faithful 
whose hearts have been ploughed by the preaching and corrections of former 
pastors see anything to lament in the conduct of their present ruler. 
And the worthy possessor does not eat the fruit of the land without money; for 
the wise pastor first lays out the talent of the Word of God, in order not to 
receive to his condemnation his maintenance from the Church. For we eat the 
fruits of our land with money if we labour in preaching while we receive the 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 14 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

www.throughhim.faithweb.com 
PUBLISHED FREE ... NOT TO BE SOLD 



revenues of the Church. We are the heralds of the Judge who is to come. And 
who will announce His coming if the herald is silent? 



© 



Would you agree that this chapter is very relevant to the church 
today, what do we do to earn our income that we receive from the 
church? 



9. Hence each of us, to the best of his ability, and according to the needs of 
his flock, ought to strive to make them understand the terrors of the Last 
Judgment, and the joys of the Kingdom to come. And if the pastor cannot 
reach all by a discourse addressed to all in common, he ought as far as in him 
lies to instruct them individually, to edify them by private discourses, and by 
familiar exhortation strive to produce fruit in the hearts of his people. 

And we ought unceasingly to bear in mind the words addressed to the holy 
Apostles and through them to us: "You are the salt of the earth." If, therefore, 
we are the salt of the earth, it behoves us to season the hearts of the faithful. 
As you are pastors, then, bear in mind that you feed the animals of God. For 
of them the Psalmist saith to God, "In it shall Thy animals dwell "(Ps. Ixvii. 
n). Now we often see that a block of salt is set before cattle that they may be 
improved by licking it. As is the block of salt amid the cattle, such should the 
priest be in the midst of his people. For the priest must needs take thought of 
what to say to each, how to admonish individuals, that all who approach him 
may, as it were, by the touch of salt, be seasoned with the savour of eternal 
life. For we do not deserve to be called the salt of the earth, unless we season 
the hearts of the people. And he truly imparts that seasoning to his flock, who 
does not withhold from them the word of exhortation. 

^^ Would agree that it is the pastors who should teach his 
congregation from the pulpit or classroom? 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 1 5 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

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V/hat are you teaching from your pulpit: 



Would you also agree that it is your responsibility to teach 
individuals in their homes? 



10. But to preach virtue as we ought our life should be an example of our 
preaching; and as we cannot pass through life without sin, we ought with tears 
springing from divine love to wash away the stains of our daily faults. And to 
have genuine compunction we should carefully consider the life of the pastors 
who went before us, that the glory of their example may make our own life 
appear to us despicable. To be truly contrite we must carefully examine the 
commandments of the Lord, and strive to make progress in them, like those 
whom we venerate, and who sanctified themselves by their observance. 
Hence it is written of Moses : " And he set up for Aaron and his sons to wash 
in, when they entered into the Holy of Holies, a laver of brass, which he made 
of the mirrors of the women that watched at the door of the tabernacle 
(Exod. xxxviii. 8). Now Moses set up a laver of brass for the ablutions of the 
priests before they entered into the Holy of Holies, for the law of God 
commands us first to purify ourselves by compunction, that our uncleanness 
may not render us unworthy to penetrate the purity of the secrets of God. 
And it is stated that the laver was made of the mirrors of the women who kept 
watch, without ceasing, at the door of the tabernacle. Now the mirrors of the 
women are typical of the divine precepts, in which holy souls are wont to 
examine themselves to discover if there be in them any stain of uncleanness. 
And they correct their faults of thought, and, so to say, beautify their 
countenances according to the image they see reflected, for by careful 
consideration of the divine precepts they perceive what there is in them to 
please or displease their heavenly Spouse. 

Yet while they remain in this life they cannot enter into the eternal 
tabernacles. But as the women kept watch at the door of the tabernacle, so 

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holy souls, though weighed down by the infirmity of the flesh, ever keep 
watch by their constant love at the entrance of the eternal sanctuary. 

As Moses, therefore, made the laver of brass from the mirrors of the 
women, so the law of God supplies us with a laver of compunction to wash 
away the stains of sin, by setting before us the heavenly precepts by the 
observance of which holy souls please their celestial Spouse. For if we 
diligently reflect on them we perceive the stains upon our inward countenance. 
The sight of those stains moves us to penance and compunction, and by our 
sorrow we are cleansed as it were in the laver made from the mirrors of the 



women. 



Reflect on your personal thought about women in the ministry; 
how does those thoughts reflect in the way you do ministry? 



ii. But while filled with sorrow for our own faults, it is very necessary for 
us to have zeal for the progress of the people committed to our charge. Let us 
therefore be filled with compunction, but let not its bitterness turn us away 
from solicitude for the people. For what will it avail us to have love for 
ourselves if we abandon the care of our neighbour? or, again, what will it 
profit us to have love and zeal for our neighbour if we neglect ourselves? For 
in the decoration of the tabernacle it was commanded to offer scarlet twice 
dyed; so in the eyes of God our charity should be dyed with the love of God 
and of our neighbour. Now he truly loves himself who sincerely loves his 
Creator. The scarlet is therefore twice dyed when through love of truth the 
soul is inflamed with love of ourselves and of our neighbour. 

^^ V/hat is it you love? 



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12. But we should bear in mind, withal, that we must practise zeal for virtue 
by correcting our neighbours faults, in such a way as, in the heat of correction, 
never to forget the virtue of meekness. For the anger of a priest ought not to be 
impetuous and violent, but should be controlled by deliberation and gravity. 
Our duty is to bear with those whom we correct, and to correct those whom 
we bear with, lest, if we fail either in severity or in meekness, our conduct be 
not such as becomes a priest. 

Hence, in the service of the Temple, there were engraven on the bases of 
the Temple lions and oxen and cherubim. Now the cherubim signify the 
fullness of wisdom. And what is the reason that on the bases there were 
neither lions alone, nor oxen alone? What else do the bases typify but priests 
in the Church. For, bearing as they do the burden of government, like the 
bases they carry the weight laid upon them. As, then, there were cherubim 
engraven on the bases, so it is meet that the hearts of priests should be stored 
with the fullness of knowledge. Again, the lions are typical of terror and 
severity, and the oxen of patience and meekness. Hence, as on the bases the 
lions were not engraven without the oxen, nor the oxen without the lions, so 
at all times in the heart of a priest meekness should be blended with severity, 
and while meekness tempers anger, zeal and severity should hinder meekness 
from becoming lax. 

^^ V/hen you are angry how should you express it? 



The author talks about three needs of the pastor/priest as you 
identify them, do you agree that these are important in your life and 
ministry? 



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13. But to what purpose is it to speak of these things, while we yet see many 
guilty of more grievous faults? For I am grieved to say to you, Prelates, that I 
have learned that some among you confer orders for money, sell the grace of 
the Holy Ghost, and at the cost of incurring the guilt of sin, lay up temporal 
lucre by favouring the iniquities of others. 

Why then do you not recall to mind the words of our Lord laying down the 
precept, "Freely you have received, freely give"? (Matth. x. 8). V/hy do you 
not picture to yourselves how our Redeemer entered into the Temple, and 
overthrew the chairs of them that sold doves, and poured out the money of the 
changers? V/ho are those who nowadays sell doves in the Temple of God but 
the ministers of the Church who take money for the imposition of hands? By 
that imposition of hands the Holy Spirit from on high is imparted. There fore 
the dove is sold, because the imposition of hands by which the Holy Spirit is 
received is conferred for a price. 

Now our Lord overthrew the chairs of them that sold doves by taking away 
the priesthood of those dealers. Hence the holy canons condemn the heresy of 
simony, and command that those who seek gain by conferring orders shall be 
deprived of the priesthood. The chair, therefore, of them that sell doves is 
overthrown, when they who sell the grace of the Spirit are deprived of the 
priesthood before men or before God. 

And, in truth, there are many other sins of pastors which are now hidden 
from the eyes of men. For oftentimes pastors act before the eyes of men as 
though they were holy, and in secret they are not ashamed to appear unclean 
before the eyes of Him who sees their hearts. Beyond doubt the day shall 
come, it shall come, and it is not far distant, when the Pastor of pastors shall 
appear and make public the deeds of every man, and He who at present 
corrects the faults of the people by means of their pastors will then in person 
condemn severely the sins of the pastors themselves. Hence it was that 
entering the Temple He made, as it were, a scourge of cords, and drove out the 
wicked dealers from the house of God, and over threw the chairs of them that 
sold doves; for He corrects the sins of the people by means of their pastors, but 
the sins of pastors He chastises in person. 

What is done in secret may now be denied before men. But the Judge shall 
surely come from whom no man can conceal his faults by silence, and whom 
none by denial can deceive. 



© 



Have you abandoned your calling to preach? 



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Do you preach to bring people to repentance? 



O 



Do you teach to disciple others in their walk with Christ? 



14. There is another feature, dearly beloved brethren, in the life of pastors 
which causes me deep affliction; and lest perchance my words may seem to 
reflect on anyone, I accuse myself also though I am so circumstanced, much 
against my will, and through the necessities of the present troubled times. For 
we have descended to secular business, and having received the dignity of one 
office we busy ourselves with the duties of another. 

We abandon the duty of preaching, and to our disgrace, as I perceive, we are 
bishops in name, and have the title but not the virtue that befits that dignity. 
For the people committed to our care abandon God, and we are silent. They 
live in sin, and we do not stretch out a hand to correct them. Every day they 
are being lost on account of the multitude of their sins; while they go down to 
hell we look on with negligence. 

But how can we reform the life of others while we neglect our own? For 
through attention to secular affairs the more we are occupied with external 
things, the more insensible we become to what is internal. And by application 
to worldly cares our mind becomes callous to heavenly desires, and hardened 
by the business of the world it cannot be softened to take an interest in what 
relates to the love of God. 

Hence holy Church, with reason, says of her weak members: "They have 
made me a keeper in the vineyards, my vineyard I have not kept "(Cant. i. 5). 
Now our vineyards are our actions, which we cultivate by the practices of our 
daily life. But though we are made keepers in the vineyards, our own vineyard 
we do not keep, because being involved in external business we neglect the 
duties of our own ministry. 

Dearly beloved brethren, from none, in my opinion, does God receive such 

prejudice as from priests, when they who are set up for the reformation of 

others set an example of wickedness, and when we ourselves, who should 

correct the faults of others, are guilty of sin. And what is still worse, 

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oftentimes priests, who ought to give what is their own in alms, take what 
belongs to others. Often times they deride such as live in humility and 
continence. Consider, then, what is the fate of the flock when the pastors 
become wolves. For there are men who undertake the care of souls, and yet 
they are not afraid to lay snares for the flock of the Lord, which needs to be 
protected against them. We seek not the good of souls, we are intent on our 
own interests; we covet earthly things, we strive to obtain the praise of men. 
And since our rank above others gives us greater liberty to act as we please, we 
make the ministry of blessing a means to further our ambition. 

We abandon the interests of God, and give ourselves up to worldly 
business; we occupy a position which is holy, and we entangle ourselves in the 
affairs of the world. Truly the words of Scripture are fulfilled in us, "There 
shall be like people, like priest "(Osee iv. 9). For the priest does not differ 
from the people when he does not surpass the people by the merits of his life. 



15. Let us then make our own the lamentation of Jeremias; let us consider 
our state and say: " How is the gold become dim, the finest colour changed; the 
stones of the sanctuary are scattered in the top of every street? " (Lamen. iv. 
i). The gold is become dim, because the life of priests which formerly shone 
with the splendour of virtue has 

now become vile through the baseness of their actions. The finest colour is 
changed because the habit of sanctity, through the abject occupations of the 
world, is degraded and despised. The stones of the sanctuary were carefully 
guarded, and were worn by the High Priest only when he went into the Holy 
of Holies to appear before God in secret. 

We, dearly beloved brethren, are the stones of the sanctuary, and we should 
always remain in Gods sanctuary, and not be seen abroad, that is occupied 
with what does not concern our vocation. But the stones of the sanctuary are 
scattered at the top of every street, when those, who by their action and their 
prayer should ever abide within, live abroad by their vicious conduct. 

For behold, at the present time there is hardly any kind of secular business 
in which priests do not take a part. Hence, as in spite of the sanctity of their 
state they are engaged in exterior things, it comes to pass that the stones of the 
sanctuary are scattered. 

And as in Greek, the word, street, plateia, is derived from breadth; the 

stones of the sanctuary are in the streets when religious persons walk in the 

broad paths of the world. And they are scattered not merely in the streets, but 

at the top of the streets, because through covetousness they do the works of the 

world, and yet by their religious profession they seek to occupy the place of 

honour. They are scattered at the top of the streets, because while their 

occupations degrade them, they desire to be honoured for the sanctity of their 

profession. 

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Should a pastor be involved in things that are not church related 
(i.e. politics, company boards, and etc.) 



16. You yourselves are witnesses of the wars which afflict the world, and 
the scourges by which the people perish every day. To what is this to be 
ascribed but to our sins? Lo! Cities are devastated, fortresses are overthrown, 
churches and monasteries are destroyed, and the fields are laid desolate. And 
we who ought to lead the people to life are the cause of their destruction. For 
through our fault many of the people have perished, because through our 
negligence we did not instruct them unto life. 

What appellation should we give to the souls of men but the food of God, 
for they were created to be incorporated in His body? That is, to increase the 
Church this is eternal. Now we ought to be the seasoning of that food. For as 
I have already said, when He sent His preachers, He said to them, "You are 
the salt of the earth." If, then, the people are God s food, priests should be its 
seasoning. But as we have abandoned prayer and sacred learning, the salt has 
lost its savour, and cannot season God s food, and therefore God does not 
partake of it; because, as we have lost our savour, it is not seasoned. 

Let us ask ourselves, therefore, who has been converted by our preaching, 
who moved by our rebukes has done penance for his sins, who has been taught 
to abandon lust, who has turned away from avarice and pride? 

Let us ask ourselves what profit we have earned for God, who gave us a 
talent and sent us to trade with it. For He has said; "Trade until I come" 
(Luke xix. 13). Behold He comes and demands the profit we have made. 
V/hat gain of souls shall we be able to show as the fruit of our trade? V/hat 
sheaves, so to say, of souls shall we present to Him from the harvest of our 
preaching? 

How can vou use your talents? 



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\-]. Let us call to mind that dreadful day when the Judge shall come, and 
shall call to account His servants, to whom He gave talents. He shall appear 
in awful majesty, amid choirs of angels and archangels. At that great 
Judgment the multitude of the elect and the reprobate shall be brought to trial, 
and the deeds of each shall be made manifest. There Peter shall appear 
bringing with him his converts of Judea. There Paul shall appear, bringing 
with him, so to speak, the whole world which he converted. There Andrew 
shall present to his King his converts of Achaia; John, those of Asia; and 
Thomas, those of India. There all the rams of the flock of God, who by their 
holy preaching brought their people to God, shall appear with the profit they 
have earned in souls. When so many pastors shall present themselves with 
their flocks to the eternal Pastor of souls, what shall we poor wretches say, 
who return empty-handed from our toil ; who have the name of pastors, but 
have no sheep fed by us to present ? We have the name of pastors here, but 
there we have no sheep to bring. 

^^ How would you answer the King of King for your actions? 



W^hat will you present to Christ? 



18. But if we neglect God s flock, will the Almighty abandon it? Assuredly 
not. For as He promised by the prophet (Ezec. xxxiv.), He feeds it in person, 
and whom He has fore ordained unto life He instructs by the smart of 
scourges, and by the spirit of compunction. By our ministry, it is true, the 
faithful are brought to holy baptism, by our prayers they are blessed, by the 
imposition of our hands they receive from God the Holy Spirit, they obtain 
the kingdom of heaven ; and lo, we, through our negligence, go down to hell. 
Purified by the hands of priests the elect enter their heavenly country, while 
priests them selves, by their sinful life, hasten to eternal torments. 

To what then shall I compare bad priests, but to baptismal water, which 
washes away the sins of the baptized and sends them on to heaven, while it 
flows itself down into the sewers? 

Brethren, let us stand in dread of such a fate. Let our ministry and our life 

be in harmony. Let us every day take thought about the forgiveness of our 

sins, nor let us, by whom Almighty God sets others free, spend our days in the 

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bondage of sin. Let us unceasingly keep in mind what we are, and weigh well 
our office and the burden we have undertaken. Let us daily examine how 
stand our accounts with our Judge. 

And while we make provision for ourselves we must not neglect our 
neighbour, that so every man who approaches us may be seasoned with the salt 
of our exhortation. 

V/hen we see an unmarried person leading an unchaste life, we should 
admonish him to bridle his passion by entering the married state, and to learn 
by what is lawful to overcome what is unlawful. 

If we have to deal with a married person, we should admonish him to 
attend to the cares of the world in such a way as not to forget the love of God, 
and strive so to please his wife as not to displease his Creator. 

V/hen we have to treat with a cleric, we should warn him to live so as to be 
an example to seculars, lest if his conduct be reprehensible the honour of 
religion suffer through his fault. 

V/hen we deal with a monk we should admonish him to pay attention in 
his acts, in his words and in his thoughts, to the respect due to his habit, to 
abandon perfectly the things of the world, and to strive to be such in conduct 
before the eyes of God as he appears in habit before the eyes of men. 

Let us exhort the holy to advance in holiness, and the wicked to correct his 
vices, so that every man who comes in contact with the priest may go away 
seasoned with the salt of his discourse. 

Brethren, lay these things seriously to heart, speak of these things to your 
people, prepare to offer to Almighty God the fruit of the charge you have 
undertaken. 

But all this, of which we have been speaking, we shall induce you to 
perform rather by prayer than by exhortation. 

Let us pray. O God, who hast been pleased to call us to be pastors of Thy 
people, grant, we beseech Thee, that what we are called by men, such we may 
have strength to be in Thy sight. Through our Lord, &c. 

^^ V/hat are you doing to balance your walk with Christ and family 
responsibility? 



V/ho is the most important and at what cost? 



HOMILY OF SAINT GREGORY the GREAT on PASTORAL OFFICE 24 

Written by Pope Gregory the Great, 
Workbook/Study-Guides General Editor Rev. Don Allen, Jr. ... Founder/Director of Though HIM Ministries 

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